Skip to main content

Full text of "William Gaston as a public man"

See other formats







North Caroliniana Society 

no. 27 


Form No. A-368, Rev. 8/95 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

William Gaston 

as a Public Man 


John L. Sanders 

Together with Tributes to John Sanders by Banks C. Talley, Jr. 

Henry W. Lewis, and Timothy E. Newman on the Occasion of 

Bis Acceptance of the North Carolinians Society Award for 1997 

H. G. Jones, General Editor 

No. 1 An Evening at Monticello: An Essay in Reflection (1978) 
by Edwin M. Gill 

No. 2. The Paul Green I Know (1978) 
by Elizabeth Lay Green 

No. 3. The Albert Coates I Know (1979) 
by Gladys Hall Coates 

No. 4. The Sam Ervin I Know (1980) 
by Jean Conyers Ervin 

No. 5. Sam Ragan (1981) 
by Neil Morgan 

No. 6. Thomas Wolfe of North Carolina (1982) 
edited by H. G. Jones 

No. 7. Gertrude Sprague Carraway (1982) 
by Sam Ragan 

No. 8. John Fries Blair (1983) 
by Margaret Blair McCuiston 

No. 9. William Clyde Friday and Ida Howell Friday (1984) 
by Georgia Carroll Kyser and William Brantley Aycock 

No. 10. William S. Powell, Historian (1985) 
by David Stick and William C. Friday 

No. 11. "Gallantry Unsurpassed" (1985) 
edited by Archie K. Davis 

No. 12. Mary and Jim Semans, North Carolinians (1986) 
by W. Kenneth Goodson 

No. 13. The High Water Mark (1986) 
edited by Archie K. Davis 

No. 14. Raleigh and Quinn: The Explorer and His Boswell (1987) 
edited by H. G. Jones 

[continued on inside back cover] 

William Gaston as a Public Man 


John L. Sanders 



<^ Jo \>, Am , i. 

Together with Tributes to John Sanders by Banks C. Talley,Jr., 

Henry W. Lewis, and Timothy E. Newman on the Occasion of 

His Acceptance of the North Caroliniana Society Award for 1997 

Chapel Hill 27514-8890 

North Caroliniana Society, Inc. 
and North Carolina Collection 



This edition is limited to 

five hundred signed copies 

of which this is number 

a 3 J 

Copyright 1997 by 

North Caroliniana Society, Inc. 

UNC Campus Box 3930 

Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514-8890 

All rights reserved 

Manufactured in the United States of America 



William Gaston as a Public Man, by John L. Sanders 1 


Opening Remarks and Introductions, by H. G. Jones 19 
John Sanders, Student and Historic Preservationist, by Banks C. Talley, Jr. 24 

The Man to Turn To, by Henry W. Lewis 27 

John Sanders's Influence on Students, by Timothy E. Newman 31 

Presentation of the Award, by Willis P. Whichard 34 

Acceptance of the Award, by John L. Sanders 35 

Photographs of the Occasion, by Jerry W. Cotten 37 

Some Facts about John Lassiter Sanders 42 



William Gaston as a Public Man 


John L. Sanders 

Delivered in Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 
Prior to the Awards Ceremony on 30 May 1997 

At left, William Gaston at age 18, watercolor on ivory by James Peale, 1796; at 
right, William Gaston as he looked as a grown man, painted after his death by 
James Bogle from a life portrait by George Cooke. (Courtesy of Frick Art Reference 
Library, New York, and the Philanthropic Literary Society, UNC, respectively.) 

William Gaston as a Public Man 

John L. Sanders 


Few names of North Carolinians of earlier centuries are as familiar to 
our people as that of William Gaston. The name of Gaston is borne by a 
county, a city, a town, two townships, innumerable streets, a lake, a dam, and 
not a few citizens who are not Gaston kinfolks but who were named for an 
ancestor whose parents so admired Gaston that they named a son after him. 

But who was William Gaston? 

Perhaps the best-known fact about him is that he wrote the words of 
our state song, "The Old North State," a project undertaken to amuse a young 
relative. Lawyers and a few others know him to have been a prominent 
lawyer and a State Supreme Court Judge. But there were so many interesting 
facets of the man that he would deserve our attention a century and a half 
after his death even had he never ascended the bench. 

For his time and our own, William Gaston represents the public 
man — the citizen who pursues his private employment with success, but who 
also serves his fellow citizens in whatever additional roles his abilities, 
ambition, and opportunities open up to him. 

No one who speaks or writes about William Gaston and who 
understands the breadth of the man's interests, the depth of his intellect, and 
the variety and magnitude of his accomplishments can fail to be daunted by 
the task. Perhaps that is why Gaston still lacks the quality of biography to 
which his character and services entitle him. 

The Gaston Family 

The Gaston family were French Huguenots who emigrated from 
France to Scotland about 1640, thence to Ireland about 1662. There, 
Alexander Gaston was born. He studied medicine at the University of 
Edinburgh. By 1764, he had settled in New Bern, then the chief city of North 


Carolina, where he practiced his profession and began accumulating extensive 
farmland. In 1775, Dr. Gaston met and married Margaret Sharpe, a young 
lady of Roman Catholic parentage, English birth, and French education. The 
Gastons had three children: a son who died in infancy; William Joseph, who 
was born on 19 September 1778; and a daughter, Jane, born in 1780. 

Dr. Gaston took an early and forward part in the movement for 
American independence in non-military roles. These activities marked him 
for the enmity of the Tories and ultimately for his death at their hands in 
August of 1781. x 

Youth and Education 

Upon the widow, now without near kinsmen in the New World, fell 
the full responsiblity of rearing two young children. 2 

In 1791, Mrs. Gaston sent her son, William, then twelve, to Philadel- 
phia, where he spent six months preparing for college. That fall, Gaston at 
thirteen became the first student to enter Georgetown College (now 
Georgetown University). After a year and a half there, extended illness forced 
Gaston's return to North Carolina. At home, he rapidly regained his health. 
A year of study (1793-1794) at New Bern Academy enabled him to enter 
Princeton University in the fall of 1794 as a junior. He was graduated from 
there with highest honors in 1796 and returned to New Bern. About that 
time, he dropped his middle name of "Joseph" and did not use it during his 
adult years. 


To William Gaston, lacking the advantages of family or fortune but 
possessed of a quick mind, a facile pen, and oratorical skill, the legal profession 
offered a ready path to economic security and public advancement. Gaston 
read law in New Bern under Francois Xavier Martin, who was later to gain 
distinction as the Chief Justice of Louisiana. When barely 20— on 22 
September 1798— Gaston was admitted to practice before the Superior Court 
of Carteret County. Then began one of the most brilliant legal careers in this 
state's history. 

We may suppose Gaston to have been giving the formula for his own 
career pursuit when, in the fullness of his mature years, he advised the 
students at Chapel Hill in 1832: 

Deeply rooted principles of probity, confirmed habits of industry, and a 
determination to rely on one's own exertions, constitute then the great 
preparation for the discharge of the duties of man, and the best security for 


performing them in honor to one's self and benefit to others. 3 
For the next third of a century, until he ascended the bench, Gaston's 
life as a busy lawyer, state and national legislator, and public man were so 
intertwined that separation of the various strands is difficult and somewhat 

The same year that Gaston came to the bar, 1798, John Louis Taylor, 
husband of his sister, Jane Gaston, and a prominent New Bern lawyer, was 
elected a judge of the Superior Court. Gaston succeeded to much of Taylor's 
law practice and so gained early and easily a large practice that might 
otherwise have required years in the building. He proved equal to that 

Early in his career, Gaston began to take young men into his office to 
read law in preparation for the bar. His alumni included many who gained 
professional distinction. 

The character of law practice at that time required Gaston's attendance 
at state and federal trial courts throughout the southeastern coastal area to 
Wilmington, and before the State Supreme Court and the federal Circuit 
Court at Raleigh. Specialization in law practice was not feasible, but Gaston 
seems to have excelled in real property litigation, and he earned renown as 
defense counsel in criminal cases. He gained a place among the small, select 
group of lawyers who argued most State Supreme Court appeals. Judge 
William Horn Battle, who knew Gaston well, wrote that 

He very soon acquired distinction in his profession, which steadily 
increased until he had attained, by universal acknowledgment, the proud 
eminence of being at the head of the bar of this State— a pre-eminence 
which he never lost until he was raised by his admiring countrymen to a 
still more exalted station. 4 


Gaston's view as to the imperative claim of public service on the 
citizen was set forth in his Chapel Hill address in 1832 when he said: 
[TJhere is no individual so humble who has not duties of a public kind to 
discharge. His views and actions have an influence on those of others, and 
his opinions, with theirs, serve to make up that public will. More 
especially is this the case with those who, whatever may be their pursuits 
in life, have been raised by education to a comparative superiority in 
intellectual vigor and attainments. 5 

Gaston began his political career at 22 as a Federalist member of the 
State Senate of 1800, the first of his eleven one-year state legislative terms, 
spread intermittently over three decades. In that session, he unsuccessfully 
opposed the bill to withdraw from the University of North Carolina state 


financial aid in the form of escheated and confiscated property, legislation that 
the state court later invalidated and the General Assembly of 1805 repealed. 

After a few years' absence from the legislature, Gaston returned as the 
New Bern borough member of the House of Commons from 1807 to 1809. 
In the year between, he wrote the Statute of Descent that remained the basic 
law on this subject until 1960. He served briefly as the speaker of the house 
of 1808 (though as a Federalist, he was a member of the minority party in the 
chamber), but was defeated for that post in 1809. Gaston early demonstrated 
his belief in religious liberty by his successful defense in 1809 of a member of 
the house, Jacob Henry, from attempted removal from that body on the 
grounds that, as a Jew, he was constitutionally ineligible to serve. 

Five terms in the legislature fired Gaston's ambition for a larger 
parliamentary arena. Defeated in a race for Congress in 1810, he ran 
successfully in 1813 and took his seat in the House of Representatives as a 
Federalist and an opponent of the War of 1812, which was then raging. In 
Congress, he found himself in the stimulating company of Henry Clay, John 
C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster, young men who were already giving 
evidence of the leadership qualities that would enable them to bestride the 
congressional stage for much of the next 40 years. 

Gaston gained national attention during his first term by a vigorous, 
two-day speech opposing a bill to authorize the borrowing of funds for the 
prosecution of the war, whose real and ignoble object, he maintained, was the 
conquest of Canada, not the vindication of seamen's rights. 

Early in 1814, he spoke strongly on the house floor for a constitutional 
amendment that would have called for the election of presidential electors by 
districts in each state, as North Carolina law had done from 1796 through 
1808. That would have assured that the makeup of the electoral college more 
closely reflected the diverse political sentiments of each state than did the 
winner-take-all policy that still prevails. A similar effort by Gaston in 1816 
was unsuccessful. 

Reelected in 1815 without opposition despite the minority status of his 
party, Gaston again won national attention by a major congressional speech 
made in January of 1816 in favor of a motion to delete from the rules of the 
House of Representatives the provision whereby the majority of members, 
upon a call for the previous question, could cut off further debate and require 
an immediate vote on the issue before the house. Accustomed to the 
disadvantages of being in the legislative minority in Washington as he had 
been in Raleigh, Gaston insisted that "dispatch in lawmaking is inconsistent 
with deliberative freedom." 

The rule of the previous question, he said in his address, 


is a power vested in the majority to forbid, at their sovereign will and 
pleasure, every member, not of that majority, from making known either 
his own sentiments or the wishes or complaints of his constituents, in 
relation to any subject under consideration, or from attempting to amend 
what is proposed as a law for the government of the whole nation. 6 
The stature Gaston attained during his two terms in Congress is 
reflected in the later remark of Daniel Webster that of all the men in the War 
Congress of 1813, "the greatest man was William Gaston. I myself came in 
along after him." 7 

Forsaking a congressional career that, despite his minority political 
views, would have won him increasing public notice, Gaston declined to seek 
reelection in 1816 and returned to New Bern to attend to family and 
professional affairs. With him was a new wife, Eliza Worthington of 

As a State Senator again in 1818, Gaston's chief service was as chairman 
of the joint select committee that prepared the bill that established the State 
Supreme Court as an appellate body in law cases and trial court in certain 
equity cases, with members chosen only for that service. This reformed 
Supreme Court greatly expedited the dispatch of judicial business. A year 
later, Senator Gaston led successful resistance to a move by critics of the court 
to undermine it by reducing the salaries of the judges. In and out of the 
legislature, Gaston was a vigilant defender of the Supreme Court, which 
enjoyed a precarious existence for its first 15 years. 

Gaston also advocated in the 1819 session the creation of a system of 
public schools in all counties. 

Returning to the legislative scene from 1827 to 1830 as the New Bern 
member of the House of Commons, Gaston needed all of his parliamentary 
genius to defeat legislation introduced in 1828 to destroy the banks of the 
state. As president of the Bank of New Bern, he knew the need for reform of 
some banking practices and acknowledged it, but he championed the banks 
as essential to the economic well-being of the state. 

In his last legislative session, 1831-1832, Gaston strongly advocated 
reconstructing the recently burned State Capitol building in Raleigh, in 
contest with the legislative faction that wished to remove the seat of 
government to Fayetteville. A year later, the issue was settled as he wished it, 
and Raleigh remained the capital city of the state. 

Though a conservative, Gaston saw the key to the development of the 
state to be internal improvements — a term that embraced the roads, navigation 
projects, and railroads necessary to provide North Carolina's farmers with 
vital access to markets for their produce. A proponent in 1819 of the creation 
of a board of internal improvements, he introduced an unsuccessful bill in 


1831 to charter the North Carolina Central Railroad from Beaufort westward 
through the central part of the state. 

In measuring Gaston's accomplishments as a legislator, it must be 
remembered that as a Federalist, and later as a member of the group that after 
about 1834 were called "Whigs," he was at all times an ardent member of the 
political minority in the state legislature and in Congress while he served 

This treatment of Gaston as a parliamentarian would be incomplete if 
no notice were taken of his last and most famous role in that capacity. The 
State Constitutional Convention of 1835 was called primarily in response to 
long-standing western demands for state constitutional changes granting the 
West greater representation in the all-powerful General Assembly; it also 
framed amendments on several other topics. 

Earlier a defender of the old scheme of legislative representation that 
gave the East dominance in the General Assembly, by 1835 Gaston had 
become a supporter of a constitutional convention and of representation 
reform, which was essential to any program of education or internal 
improvements. Although by then a State Supreme Court Judge, Gaston was 
elected a Craven County delegate to the convention. 

Gaston's hopes for the convention and for the state he expressed to his 
fellow delegates in these terms: 

It was vain to hope that what ought to be done for the physical or 
intellectual and moral advancement of the State, could ever be accom- 
plished, without the united efforts of the good and the wise— without 
liberal councils, and systematic co-operation. Many an anxious, many a 
painful hour he had spent in reflecting on the divided and distracted state 
of his country [North Carolina]. Earnestly he had wished that he might 
live to see the day when, instead of wasting our energies in sectional broils, 
instead of waging against each other a foolish and wicked contest, in which 
victory was without glory, and defeat without consolation, we could, like 
a band of brothers, devote all our aspirations and all our efforts to our 
country's cause. Possibly the wish so long cherished might never be 
realized. Indeed, he must say that he was not oversanguine in this 
expectation. But he would not despair. He would not, he could not 
abandon the hope that harmony and good will were about to be restored. 
He did hope, that under this new order of things— under these favorable 
auspices, his beloved State was about to become all that her sons should 
wish her to be— that retaining the excellencies she now possessed— her love 
of liberty and order— her steady, kind, republican, and industrious 
population— her simple and unobtrusive virtues— there might be added to 
her whatever was best fitted to raise, and decorate, and ennoble her 
character. 8 
In the convention, Gaston was a dominant figure, speaking often at 


length on many issues. He must have spent more time on his feet than did 
any other delegate. Sometimes he was in the majority, sometimes in the 
minority, but always he was heard with respect. He favored a federal 
population-based formula (counting slaves at three-fifths) for apportioning the 
House of Commons, and he prevailed; he opposed termination of the 
privilege seven towns (including New Bern) had long enjoyed whereby each 
elected one borough member of the House of Commons, and he lost. He 
supported biennial legislative elections and sessions and won; he opposed 
popular election of the governor and lost. On this last issue he wryly 
observed that it was quite unnecessary to put the voters to the trouble of 
electing their governor, for "Except the right of granting reprieves and 
pardons, all that is required of him is, that he should be a gentleman in 
character and manners, and exercise a liberal hospitality." 9 

In a more serious vein, Gaston warned with respect to the popular vote 
for governor: 

Elect the Governor by the people, and then there will be a disposition to 
confer upon this object of popular choice, influence and patronage. 
Already do we hear it said, that the Governor of North-Carolina ought to 
be a GREAT Officer. When he shall be regarded as the direct Representa- 
tive of the majority of the People, the temptation to so consider him, can 
little be resisted. There will be annexed to his office, from time to time, all 
those appendages of power which his party will be able to give, and which, 
in truth, he will but hold as a trustee for his party. We must be fashion- 
able, forsooth; we must have a splendid Executive, although this splendor 
is to be obtained at the expense of public purity and public happiness.' 
Gaston led a successful effort to write into the Constitution curbs on 
private legislation, especially bills of divorce, long objects of his detestation. 
He unsuccessfully opposed repeal of the right of free black men to vote. 

It was the issue of religious tolerance that inspired Gaston's greatest 

effort in the convention and probably his most brilliant performance as a 

parliamentary orator. The State Constitution of 1776 declared in Article 32 

That no person who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the 

Protestant Religion, or the divine Authority of either the Old or New 

Testament or who shall hold Religious Principles, incompatible with the 

Freedom and safety of the State shall be capable of holding any Office or 

place of Trust or Profit in the Civil department within this State. 

While that provision probably was intended to prohibit office-holding 

by Roman Catholics, among other non-Protestants, it had never been 

enforced with that result. Gaston had earlier decided that Article 32 was 

sufficiently ambiguous in its effect that it posed no barrier to his own service 

as a legislator or judge, despite his Catholic faith. In this view, he had the 

privately communicated concurrence of his friends, Chief Justice Thomas 

Ruffin of the State Supreme Court and Chief Justice John Marshall of the 


United States Supreme Court. 

Gaston was determined, however, to remove this embarrassing and 
potentially dangerous anachronism from the Constitution. With learned 
historical references and close legal reasoning, with solemnity and sarcasm, he 
addressed the convention for a whole long day in advocacy of the elimination 
of all religious tests for public office. 

The heart of Gaston's argument he cast in these simple words: 
The question is, ought there to be any Religious test in the Constitution? 
Shall any man be debarred from office, merely because of his opinions on 
matters of Religion? To me it seems, if there can be any certainty in moral 
or political science, the answer must be in the negative. It is an invasion of 
the right of the people to select those whom they deem worthy of 
confidence, and a violation of the right of the citizen to acquire the 
confidence of his fellow men, and to enjoy the rewards which they wish to 
bestow on his intelligence, industry, patriotism, and virtue. 11 
His speech, which fills 42 closely printed pages in the proceedings of 
the convention, Gaston concluded with this eloquent plea: 

The question before us is one, not of practical convenience, but of 
fundamental principles. He who would sacrifice such principles to the 
passion or caprice or excitement of the moment, may be called a politician, 
but he is no Statesman. We are now examining into the soundness of the 
foundation of our institutions. If we rest the fabric of the Constitution 
upon prejudices, unreasoning and mutable prejudices, we build upon sand; 
but let us lay it on the broad and firm basis of natural right, equal justice 
and universal freedom— freedom of opinion— freedom, civil and reli- 
gious—freedom as approved by the wise, and sanctioned by the good— and 
then may we hope that it shall stand against the storms of faction, violence 
and injustice, for then we shall have founded it upon a ROCK. 12 
Gaston and other delegates of like mind — Nathaniel Macon and David 
L. Swain among them — won a major but incomplete victory by gaining the 
substitution of the world "Christian" for "Protestant" in the religious test for 
office. Henceforth, at least no Christian was even arguably barred from 
public office. The three-to-two (74 to 52) vote by which this amendment 
passed the convention was in large part a tribute to Gaston, who throughout 
a third of a century of public service had proven the falsity of the premise on 
which the old exclusionary language rested. His powerful speech was 
published and circulated widely, enlarging Gaston's fame as an orator and as 
a champion of religious freedom. 

And when the work of the convention was done, the members 
entrusted to Gaston the task of styling the amendments, of giving them, in 
Judge William Horn Battle's phrase, "the form and dress" in which they went 
to the voters and were approved by referendum in 1835. 



Chief Justice Leonard Henderson died in 1833. The other two 
members of the Supreme Court were Thomas Ruffin and Joseph John Daniel. 
Until 1868, all judges were chosen by ballot of the members of the General 
Assembly, the two houses sitting in joint session, and election was for life. 

Gaston had twice, in 1829 and 1832, resisted urgings that he be a 
candidate for the Supreme Court, before which he often appeared. In 1833, 
however, his resistance was overborne by the pleas of his friends, and 
particularly by those of Judge Ruffin, who threatened to resign and doom the 
still-precarious Supreme Court to extinction if Gaston did not join him on the 
bench. Although it meant giving up a professional income of $6,000 a year for 
a salary of $2,500 and subjecting himself to constant public review of his 
official conduct, Gaston relented. On 27 November 1833, the legislature 
elected him to the Supreme Court bench on the first ballot by a vote of 112 
to 42 for his only opponent (33 blank ballots were cast). The chief justiceship 
was decided by lot between Ruffin and Gaston, Daniel refusing to be 
considered. Ruffin won and served throughout and beyond Gaston's period 
on the court. 

For the ten years of life remaining to him, Gaston's principal concern 
was the work of the Supreme Court. He studiously stood apart from partisan 
politics. In 1840, he declined to seek an assured seat in the United States 
Senate. A year later, he declined appointment as Attorney General of the 
United States. New Bern continued to be his home. For the two relatively 
short terms that the court sat each years, he lived with a relative in Raleigh. 
Gaston's opinions reflect not only legal scholarship and literary skill 
of the highest order, but compassion and humanity in the application of the 
law. He conceived that, in his words, "one of the duties of judges is to hand 
down the deposit of the law, as they have received it[,] without addition, 
diminution, or change." 13 Yet his legal learning was such that usually he could 
find an applicable rule of law or a construction that comported with his own 
sense of the demands of justice in the case at bar. 
Fabius H. Busbee said of Gaston the jurist: 

As a Chancellor his desire always seems to be to strike at the real merits and 
justice of the case, and noticeably, and ever and always, he is the upholder 
of the weak against the strong. In this there is no trace of any effort to 
'catch the ear of the groundlings,' there is no seeking after popularity, but 
there is the unmistakable evidence of a man whose heart there always 
abides the tenderest compassion for any human being in weakness or 
distress. 14 
Of Gaston's judicial opinions, Busbee wrote: 


Elegant in diction, replete with learning, and characterized by great 
accuracy of statement and strong logical expression, they never fail to 
interest and instruct, as well as to inspire us, we trust, with a proper sense 
of the responsibility and dignity of the legal profession and of high judicial 
position. 15 

Some of Gaston's opinions strongly challenged the conventional values 
of his contemporaries, as when he held that it was not murder but felonious 
homicide for a slave to kill an overseer in self-defense if his own life was 
imperiled (State v. Will, 18 N.C. 121, 172 [1834]), or when he ruled that a 
manumitted slave became a citizen (State v. Manuel, 20 N.C. 144, 151 [1838]). 
These were enlightened views for the 1830s, and they came from a planter 
who died the owner of 163 slaves. 

The value Gaston placed on his role as a Supreme Court Judge is best 
stated in a letter he wrote in 1840, explaining his refusal to be a candidate for 
the United States Senate: 

I believe the faithful performance of the duties of the office I 
now hold, by the kindness of my fellow citizens, is as impor- 
tant to the public welfare, as any services which I could render 
in the political station to which you invite me. To give a 
whole-some exposition to the laws; to settle the fluctuations 
and reconcile the seeming conflicting analogies of judicial 
decisions; to administer justice in the last resort with a steady 
hand and upright purpose; appear to me among the highest of 
civil functions. And so long as God spares me health and 
understanding to perform these faithfully, how can I better 
serve my country? 16 

Other Services 

While it was as legislator and judge that Gaston played his most 
conspicuous roles, he served the public in many other ways as well. In 1808, 
he was a Federalist presidential elector. For 42 years, he was an active trustee 
of the University of North Carolina, when attendance at board meetings 
required a journey of several days between New Bern and Chapel Hill. For 
many years he was chairman of the trustees of the New Bern Academy. In 
1828, he became President of the Bank of New Bern and the following year 
he declined the presidency of the State Bank in Raleigh. In the legislature and 
out, he was a strong advocate of internal improvements. He was a leading 
member of the State Internal Improvements Convention of July 1833 and 
prepared its address to the public. 

An orator of renown in a day when that art was highly developed and 


appreciated, Gaston was often invited to be the chief speaker on public 
occasions. His most notable efforts of this kind were speeches delivered at the 
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1832 and at Princeton 
University in 1835. 

In his prophetic Chapel Hill speech of 1832, Gaston offered much 
sound paternal advice to his student audience. "Happiness, as well as 
greatness, enjoyment as well as renown," he declared, "have no friends so sure 
as Integrity, Diligence and Independence." 17 Then he went on to lay bare the 
problem that would increasingly embitter the political discourse of the Nation 
until resolved in the crucible of battle. Toward the end of his speech, Gaston 

As your country grows in years, you must also cause it to grow in science, 
literature, arts and refinement. It will be for you to develope [sic] and 
multiply its resources, to check the faults of manners as they rise, and to 
advance the cause of industry, temperance, moderation, justice, morals and 
religion, all around you. On you too, will devolve the duty which has 
been too long neglected, but which cannot with impunity be neglected 
much longer, of providing for the mitigation, and (is it too much to hope 
for in North Carolina?) for the ultimate extirpation of the worst evil that 
affects the Southern part of our Confederacy. Full well do you know to 
what I refer, for on this subject, there is, with all of us, a morbid sensitive- 
ness which gives warning even of an approach to it. Disguise the truth as 
we may, and throw the blame where we will, it is Slavery which, more 
than any other cause, keeps us back in the career of improvement. It stifles 
industry and represses enterprise — it is fatal to economy and providence — it 
discourages skill— impairs our strength as a community, and poisons morals 
at the fountainhead. How this evil is to be encountered, how subdued, is 
indeed a difficult and delicate enquiry, which this is not the time to 
examine, nor the occasion to discuss. I felt, however, that I could not 
discharge my duty, without referring to this subject, as one which ought to 
engage the prudence, moderation and firmness of those who, sooner or 
later, must act decisively upon it. 18 

This challenge was uttered less than a year after Nat Turner's 
Rebellion had raised alarms that still reverberated throughout the South, and 
the speech continued to be reprinted by the literary societies of the University 
as late as 1858 — testimony to the respect in which Gaston's views were held, 
even on the most controversial subjects. 

Three decades later, Gaston's last descendant to bear his surname was 
to die in the Battle of Sharpsburg, defending the institution his grandfather 
had lamented in 1832. 



The nation's recognition of Gaston took many forms. He was elected 
a member of the prestigious American Philosophical Society in 1817 and the 
American Academy of Languages and Belles Lettres in 1821. Universities and 
colleges showered him with honorary degrees: Pennsylvania in 1819, 
Columbia in 1825, Harvard in 1825, and Princeton in 1835. 

What were the reasons and the means whereby Gaston attained 
national fame? Here was a man whose whole life, save for four years in 
school and college as a boy and two terms in Congress at a relatively early age, 
was spent in New Bern and Raleigh. Yet he became the most widely known 
and admired North Carolinian of his generation. It is understandable that 
North Carolina should have known and praised him. But why was he 
honored by the nation's major universities and why, for example, was he 
widely urged for appointment as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme 
Court on John Marshall's death in 1835? 

Most of the credit for Gaston's national fame is due to two factors. 
The first was Gaston's large network of well-placed friends, acquired in 
college, in Congress, and in law practice. These associations were carefully 
nourished and enlarged over the years, especially through annual visits to his 
daughter, Susan Gaston Donaldson, in New York during his last 15 years, 
coupled with trips to Boston and Philadelphia. That circle included John 
Marshall, Daniel Webster, Chancellor James Kent of New York, United 
States Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story and Edward Everett of Massachu- 
setts, Chief Justice Roger Taney, and Congressman John Randolph of 
Virginia. The second was the publication and wide circulation and reprinting 
of several of his speeches that dealt directly, thoughtfully, and eloquently with 
major issues of national concern — religious liberty, slavery, disunion, and 
internal improvements among them. 

In support of this thesis, I quote Mr. Justice Joseph Story's explana- 
tion, written to a friend at the time, of how he persuaded the Harvard 
Corporation to give Gaston an honorary doctorate in 1825: 

... I admit, that the suggestion originally came from me, but in justice I 
ought to add, that as soon as Mr. G[aston]'s name was mentioned there was 
an instantaneous and unanimous assent on the part of the whole Corpora- 
tion. . . . My reason for naming Mr. G[aston] was, because he is one of the 
most distinguished of American Lawyers in the highest sense of the phrase; 
because he is eminent as a Statesman; and because as a private gentleman, 
[he] is all that one could wish or desire. . . . Another was, that he is a 
Catholic, and I was most anxious that a Protestant University should show 
its liberality by doing homage to a gentleman of a different faith, and thus 
to honor itself by a fine exhibition of Christian virtue. 


I consider our appointment as conferring honor on ourselves, and 
not on Mr. Gaston. I am proud that he should stand on our Catalogue 
truly a Doctor of Laws, whom to know was to respect. 19 


Of William Gaston's life and work as a devout servant of the Roman 
Catholic Church, I speak with diffidence. Yet his faith was so integral to the 
man that no treatment of Gaston could pretend to completeness without its 

William Gaston carried forward his mother's struggle to get a Catholic 
parish established for and a priest regularly assigned to New Bern. When 
priests visited New Bern, masses were celebrated in Gaston's parlor. Bishop 
John England of Charleston visited him in New Bern in 1821, 1823, and 1824, 
and under that stimulus, funds were raised and land bought for a church. 
Then, and later when funds were raised to construct St. Paul's Church in 
1840, Gaston was a large contributor. 

In the mid-1 820s, a resident priest was assigned to St. Paul's, so that the 
long-cherished goal of the Gastons, mother and son, was at last attained. 

Private Man 

What of the private Gaston — the husband, father, friend? 

Thrice a bridegroom and thrice a widower, Gaston's relationships with 
his immediate family were warm and close. 

To Gaston and his second and third wives were born one son and four 
daughters, who might have been expected to form the foundation of a 
numerous progeny "in whom," he said, "I hope my name and remembrance 
to be perpetuated." But that was not to be. His two grandsons by his only 
son, Alexander, died in military service, unmarried, so the Gaston surname 
in his line has been extinct since 1862. Two of Judge Gaston's four daughters 
died without issue. The last descendant of his eldest daughter, Susan Gaston 
Donaldson, died in 1976. Today, the only surviving Gaston descendants are 
two great-great-great-granddaughters and two teen-age children of one of 
them, who trace their line back to him through Hannah Gaston, the Judge's 
second daughter, who married Matthias E. Manly of New Bern. 

For all his outward dignity, Judge Gaston was, in the company of his 
familiars, a warm and congenial companion. 

Judge Battle thus described the private Gaston in his memorial address 
of 1844: 


As a kind master, a fond father, a true friend, a most amusing and 
instructive companion, he made the social intercourse of life a source at 
once of pleasure and of profit. None could make the grave remark; none 
could tell the laughable anecdote, better than he. An evening spent among 
his friends always left them in doubt whether to admire most the extent of 
his information, the depth of his erudition, the variety of his powers, or the 
easy, cheerful, instructive flow of his conversation. 20 


On 23 January 1844, while hearing arguments in the State Supreme 
Court, Gaston suffered a stroke of apoplexy. Reviving for a few hours, he 
died that evening in the midst of a company of friends whose concern had 
assembled them at his bedside. The grief at his passing was deep and wide, and 
its expressions were generous in their appreciation of the man and the citizen. 
How can we adequately evaluate William Gaston a century and a half 
after he was laid to rest in New Bern's Cedar Grove Cemetery? 

I believe his own works and the testimony of his contemporaries are 
his most apt and eloquent praise. 

Of the many tributes paid to Gaston's memory at the time of his death 
by individuals, organizations, and newspapers throughout the nation, none 
seems to me to be so comprehensive of the man as the resolution adopted by 
the citizens of New Bern on 29 January 1844: 

We, his neighbours and companions, will bear testimony to his private 
virtues, his stern integrity and honour, his piety, his benevolence, and his 
heart void of guile or malice, which we believe never did intentional wrong 
to any human being. We will cherish his memory, and teach our children 
to emulate his bright example, and to impress upon their children's 
children, to the latest generation, as a matter of just pride, that our town 
was the birthplace and the home of the great, the good, and the illustrious 
GASTON. . . . 21 

Such was William Gaston— lawyer, legislator, congressman, judge, 
planter, banker, churchman, and ever and always the patriotic citizen and 
public man— a model for our age as he was for his own. 


1. William Gaston, "An Account of the Death of Dr. Alexander Gaston," Publications of the 
Southern History Association, IX (1905), 123-124. 


2. Elizabeth F. Ellett, The Women of the American Revolution (New York: Charles Scribner, 
2 volumes, 1851), II, 139. 

3. William Gaston, Address Delivered before the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies at Chapel 
Hill, N.CJune 20, 1832 (Chapel Hill: James M. Henderson, 5th ed., 1858), 21, hereinafter 
cited as Gaston, Address of 1832. 

4. William Home Battle, "Judge Battle's Address on the Life and Character of the Late 
William Gaston," The North Carolina University Magazine, I (1844), 51, hereinafter cited as 
Battle, "Gaston." 

5. Gaston, Address of 1832, 22-23. 

6. William Gaston, Address to the House of Representatives sitting as a Committee of the 
Whole, 19 January 1816, in The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, 
14th Congress, 1st Session (Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1854), 701. 

7. Matthias E. Manly, "Memoir of Hon. William Gaston," North Carolina University 
Magazine, X (1860), 196, hereinafter cited as Manly, "Gaston." 

8. Proceedings and Debates of the Convention of North-Carolina, Called to Amend the 
Constitution of the State, which Assembled at Raleigh, June 4, 1835 (Raleigh: Joseph Gales and 
Son, 1836), 144-145, hereinafter citied as Proceedings of the Convention, 1835. 

9. Proceedings of the Convention, 1835, 337. 

10. Proceedings of the Convention, 1835, 339. 

11. Proceedings of the Convention, 1835, 233. 

12. Proceedings of the Convention, 1835, 304-305. 

13. Henry Groves Connor, "William Gaston, 1778-1844," in William Draper Lewis (ed.), 
Great American Lawyers (Philadelphia: John C. Winston Company, 8 volumes, 1907-1909), 
III, 80. 

14. Fabius H. Busbee, "Portrait of Judge William Gaston," Appendix, 113 N.C. 541 (1893), 
hereinafter cited as Busbee, "Gaston." 

15. Busbee, "Gaston," 544. 

16. John H. Wheeler, Historical Sketches of North Carolina, from 1584 to 1851 (Philadelphia: 
Lippincott, Grambo and Co., 2 volumes, 1851), II, 117. 

17. Gaston, Address of 1832, 21. 

18. Gaston, Address of 1832, 23-24. 


19. R. D. W. Connor, William Gaston, A Southern Federalist of the Old School and His Yankee 
Friends, 1778-1844 (Worcester, Massachusetts: American Antiquarian Society, 1934), 50-51. 

20. Battle, "Gaston," 58. 

21. Broadside, untitled, dated Newbern, 29 January 1844. 


Tributes to John Sanders 

Including Proceedings of a Banquet on the Occasion of His 

Acceptance of the North Caroliniana Society Award for 1997 

30 May 1997 


1978 Paul Green 

1979 Albert Coates 

1980 Sam J. Ervinjr. 

1981 Sam Ragan 

1982 Gertrude Sprague Carraway 

1983 John Fries Blair 

1984 William C. & Ida H Friday 

1985 William S. Powell 

1986 Mary D.B.T. & James H. Semans 

1987 David Stick 

1988 William McWhorter Cochrane 

1989 Emma Neal Morrison 

1990 Burke Davis 

1991 Lawrence F. London 

1992 Frank H. Kenan 

1993 Charles Kuralt 

1994 North Carolina Collection 
1994 Archie K. Davis 

1994 H. G.Jones 

1995 LeRoy T Walker 

1995 J. Carlyle Sitterson 

1996 Hugh MacRae Morton 

1997 John L. Sanders 

Opening Remarks and Introductions 
H. G.Jones 

Those who know John Sanders well are accustomed to his calm, quiet, 
deliberate, and unflappable way of dealing with any situation. Our Directors 
were privileged to see another side of our honoree when, at the November 
meeting, President Emeritus Bill Friday made the simple motion that the 
North Caroliniana Society Award for 1997 be bestowed upon John Lassiter 
Sanders. Because the floor was carpeted, John's chair shot back almost 
without a sound, but the rustling of clothes would have told us, even if we had 
been blind, that one member had shot up like an arrow and was streaking 
from the room. John did not know that a well-orchestrated conspiracy had 
already decided the issue, and because there was to be no further discussion, 
he could have remained in the room without a conflict of interest. 

So, tonight we have no brass bands, sideshow barkers, or dancing 
ladies. Instead, we are sharing this evening, rather quietly, with one of the 
quietest dynamos that any of us have had the privilege of knowing. Decorum 
dictates that the ceremony be serious and respectful in its tone, but the 
audience should be cautioned that we requested that our speakers dig deeply 
with the hope that they might come up with at least a few tidbits that might 
bring John down to our level and perhaps, just perhaps, unlock that brilliant 
sense of humor that he camouflages except in unpredictable circumstances. 

May I present those at the head table. Will each please stand as the 
name is called and remain standing, and will the audience withhold applause 
until all have been recognized: From my right, Henry Lewis, Leona 
Whichard, Banks Talley, Karla Newman, and from my left, Louise Talley, 
Tim Newman, and Willis Whichard — and finally, please welcome Ann and 
John Sanders. At the table directly in front are John and Ann's family: Tracy 
and her husband Tom Justus, Jane and her friend Howard Goldstein, and 
William Sanders. 

We also acknowledge the presence of several previous recipients of the 
North Caroliniana Society Award. Will each stand and remain standing until 
all have been presented: William and Ida Friday, William Powell, William 
Cochrane, and Lawrence London; and, we are always honored to have Albert 
Coates's beloved Gladys, who, just five years from eleven days ago, will give 
us an excuse for the biggest birthday party in the history of Chapel Hill. 


Finally, though his health prevents him from being here in person, we 
know that the spirit of our beloved President Emeritus, Archie Davis, is with 
us tonight. He was perfectly delighted last fall when President Friday and I 
called him during the Board meeting to tell him of the selection of John 
Sanders, whom he considers, as we all do, one of North Carolina's truly 
outstanding public servants. 

Please enjoy your dinner. We will be back after dessert. 

[Following dinner:'] 

Everyone here has his or her recollections of John Sanders, and our 
speakers will no doubt jog memories both of his humanity and his services to 
North Carolina. May I mention just two distinct contributions that may not 
be covered by others. 

Back in 1969 the maiden flight of the state's new airplane carried 
Governor Bob Scott, First Lady Jessie Rae Scott, and a load of archivists to 
Madison, Wisconsin, where the governor was keynote speaker for the Society 
of American Archivists, of which I was then president. When Governor Scott 
returned to the hotel after a visit with Governor Knowles in Wisconsin's 
spectacular Capitol, he announced cryptically, "We're going home and do 
something about our Capitol." Back in Raleigh, as director of the State 
Department of Archives and History, it was my assignment to prepare a 
proposal for the restoration of the Old Grey Lady. Neither my staff nor I had 
much knowledge about the historic structure, but we knew who did. So I 
wrote Professor Sanders asking if we might hire him (outside his official work 
hours, of course) to be an advisor in the project. I received a prompt reply: 
We certainly could not hire him, because as a professor at a university owned 
by the taxpayers, he could not accept any remuneration beyond his salary, 
whether on or off hours. (Now that was less than thirty years ago, and how 
quaint such a decision must sound to present-day grant-seeking faculty 
members.) In the next paragraph, however, he volunteered his advice and 
assistance as one who had for many years studied the history of the Capitol 
and who was saddened by the condition into which it had fallen. Throughout 
the restoration process, John Sanders was a walking encyclopedia without 
whose sensitivity the historic fabric of the building might have been severely 
compromised. Then, after restoration, he organized and led the State Capitol 
Foundation, which now assures the preservation of our revered national 
historic landmark. The next time you walk through the enormous doors of 
our Capitol, give thanks for the roles of John Sanders and Bob Scott in its 


UNC wouldn't be UNC without at least one raging controversy. 
There is, for example, a never-ending debate over the relationship of the 
University of North Carolina and the people who own it. Back in the '80s 
this issue flared openly with some intemperate pronouncements from the 
Faculty Council and the response of one department chairman who, when 
asked how his department had been strengthened under his leadership, 
boasted that when he arrived in the 1950s, most of the professors were North 
Carolinians; now, thirty years later, there wasn't a single Tar Heel on his staff. 
That led Bill Powell to ask in the Carolina Alumni Review if "diversity" didn't 
require at least a few Tar Heel role models for North Carolina students. Of 
course, Bill's point was pooh-poohed as provincialism. John Sanders wryly 
noted, without editorial comment, that the native North Carolinian holding 
the highest official position in the University was in the Department of 
Athletics. In the midst these exchanges, the Board of Directors of the North 
Caroliniana Society in 1989 began looking into a proposal for a conference to 
be titled "The NC in UNC." Let the minutes speak: "Mr. Sanders suggested 
that the conference, if held, be a part of a larger plan to sensitize the university 
community to the need for improved public relations and, in turn, to provide 
better information to the public concerning the services that the University 
of North Carolina does provide to the people of the state." 

President Archie Davis appointed a "Committee on the University and 
the State," which elected John as chairman and held three meetings to discuss 
ways of increasing understanding between the University and its owners, the 
people. Not surprisingly, as the committee expanded to become more 
representative of the faculty and staff, individual agendas began crowding out 
its original purpose of simply bringing the University and the people closer 
together. Sensing the loss of focus, John exercised his usual wise judgment 
and allowed the committee to fade away, and the conference was never held. 
But that was not a wasted effort, for the bicentennial gave the administration 
a perfect opportunity for a new round of courting the favor of the citizens of 
the state. Furthermore, during the committee's discussions John planted a 
seed that germinated first at North Carolina State University and finally 
flowered on the UNC campus this very month of May when at last the 
University carried out his proposal for an statewide orientation tour for 
faculty newcomers unacquainted with the state and its people. John is like 
that— planting seeds, sometimes cultivating and bringing them to flower, 
sometimes trusting others to tend them and take credit for them. In some 
ways, he is our own Johnny Appleseed. 

Banks Talley, Jr., knows John Sanders as none of us do, because 46 
years ago he and John were really big shots on this campus— John as president 


and Banks as secretary-treasurer of the student government. After leaving 
Chapel Hill, Dr. Talley was a long-time honcho of student affairs at North 
Carolina State University before serving as executive assistant to the governor 
in Jim Hunt's first term. Always interested in the preservation of buildings 
and sites, he was president of the Historic Preservation Fund of North 
Carolina and for a year was executive vice-president of the National Trust for 
Historic Preservation. In 1984 he took on the executive directorship of the 
North Carolina Symphony and raised that cultural institution to national 
recognition. Neither he nor John looks like it, but here is John's classmate 
of a half-century ago, Banks Talley. 

[Dr. Talley 's address begins on page 24.] 

Henry Lewis also knows John Sanders as none of us do. A Phi Beta 
Kappa graduate of UNC, Henry later received his law degree from Harvard 
and joined the faculty of the Institute of Government in 1946. For many 
years Henry and John worked together under the legendary founder of the 
Institute, Albert Coates. His outstanding work and loyalty during John 
Sanders's first term as director, 1962-1973, and his fine work on loan as vice- 
president of the University in 1968-1969, led to Henry's appointment as 
John's successor, and he held the directorship until his retirement in 1978, 
when he in turn was succeeded by John. Meanwhile he had been named 
Kenan Professor of Public Law and Government. Not only is Henry Lewis 
a scholar of law and government; he is also a historian and genealogist; and if 
you want to hear some great stories, ask him about race horses and horsemen 
in antebellum northeastern North Carolina. Incidentally, like Banks Talley, 
Henry Lewis is a devotee of the art of Francis Speight. Professor Lewis. 

[Professor Lewis '$ address begins on page 27.] 

When this room served as the Carolina Inn Cafeteria, the closing of 
which deprived the University of a unique meeting place for town and gown, 
how many times have you and I seen John Sanders bringing to lunch one or 
more students? And how many times were we motioned over to the table to 
be introduced to his young guests, whose leadership potential John had 
recognized? And how many of those men and women were inspired by John 
to enter some form of public service for North Carolina? Perhaps one of 
those who came under his influence can comment on these questions. 
Timothy E. Newman was a Morehead Scholar at UNC when he was first 
invited to lunch with John Sanders. Later he attended the Columbia 


University Graduate School of Business and worked in New York for both 
Kidder, Peabody & Company and Morgan Stanley & Company. In 1994 he 
joined Wachovia Corporation in Winston-Salem as vice-president for public 
finance and where, we hope, the example of our beloved president emeritus, 
Archie Davis, who joined Wachovia 85 years ago, will guide his future. Tim 

[Mr. Newman 's address begins on page 31.] 

[President Willis P. Whichard then presented the North Caroliniana 
Society Award to John Sanders; his presentation remarks are on page 34.] 

[Mr. Sanders '$ response begins on page 35.] 


John Sanders as Student and Historic 

Banks C Talley, Jr. 

I met John Sanders in the fall of 1948 at UNC-CH. We have had a 49- 
year friendship. We were roommates in Old East. John was student body 
president and I served as secretary-treasurer the same year. We were each 
other's "best man" for our wedding celebrations. We are still married to the 
same wives, with three children each, two daughters and one son— all even. 

John Sanders was born in Four Oaks, Johnston County. Next month 
he will be 70! John was number six of six sons of David Hardy and Louie 
Jane Lassiter Sanders. D. H. Sanders and Son was a family hardware 
company. John grew up in a large home, with columns. The Sanders family 
owned a farm nearby with a delightful pond that provided many happy 
experiences. John graduated from Four Oaks High School in 1944. He 
entered North Carolina State University that fall, living on campus while 
enrolled in architecture. He was a member of the college's Glee Club, which 
had as its piano accompanist Dr. Lillian Parker Wallace, professor of history 
and department head at Meredith College. Dr. Wallace played an influential 
role in John Sanders's life by encouraging him to pursue a degree in history. 
However, his college days were interrupted by voluntary service in the 
United States Navy in 1945 and 1946. He froze at the Great Lakes Training 
Station in Michigan but recovered when he was stationed in Charleston, 
South Carolina. 

In 1947 John returned to State for two quarters and a summer session. 
He rented a room in Dr. Wallace's home. Three significant events in his life 
occurred at that time. During the summer he took a history course at 
Meredith College and met Ann Beal, now his wonderful wife. Then he wrote 
an English course term paper for Professor Joe Clark on the State Capitol, a 
subject that has held his greatest interest in historic preservation since that 
time. And thirdly, he decided to transfer to UNC at Chapel Hill to earn a 
history degree. 


John participated in many university activities beyond his academic 
studies. He was active in the International Relations Club, the Dialectic 
Literary Society, the Carolina Forum, the Student Party, and Student 
Government, and he served as president of the Student Body. There were 
serious problems to be confronted in this role — integration — and he stood tall 
with his progressive leadership. 

There were some memorable episodes along the way. I shall recall 
only two of them. 

When an effort was made to save an old snack bar that the vice- 
president for finance and business, William D. Carmichael, wanted torn 
down, John Sanders, Richard Murphy, and I called on Mr. Carmichael. After 
a helpful conversation, all four left South Building together. "Billy" 
Carmichael observed that we reminded him of Hart, Shaffner and 
Marx— mostly the latter. The next morning, we discovered that the snack bar 
had been bulldozed before dawn. A dramatic lesson for three undergraduates. 

Another episode occurred in a political science class, described as a 
study of international organizations, taught by Professor Keener Frazier. The 
professor was tied up with the League of Nations, and it was obvious that he 
would never get up to the United Nations. So several of us decided to help 

Eleanor Roosevelt was on campus giving the Weil lecture series over 
three evenings. John Sanders, who was in the class, was the chairperson for 
the Carolina Forum, which was sponsoring the former first lady's visit. 
Without advising the teacher, John agreed to bring Mrs. Roosevelt to the class 
to speak. Professor Frazier had the habit of arriving at the class almost ten 
minutes beyond the hour and then throwing the lock on the classroom door 
so that, if students arrived late, they had to knock to get in; otherwise, they 
missed the class. 

The "word" was passed to the students in the class about Mrs. 
Roosevelt's impending visit. Professor Frazier arrived at the classroom, 
locked the door, and started his lecture. A knock on the door then occurred. 
The professor unlocked the door, opened it, and was prepared to "dress 
down" the tardy student. But there stood Mrs. Roosevelt with John Sanders. 
It was a memorable event for all of us. Mrs. Roosevelt was invited to speak 
on the United Nations by a dismayed Professor Frazier. What a great session. 
At the next meeting of the class, the professor exploded about the awful stunt 
that was played on him. I have always believed that our final grades were 
reduced. But it was worth it! 

John earned his AB in history in 1950 and his doctor of laws degree in 


In historic preservation, John Sanders has made significant contribu- 
tions. He has even written a book on the Capitol, which awaits publication 
after he has those commas in the right place. He was president of the State 
Capitol Foundation many years, and he led the way in the Capitol's 
restoration. He has served in various historical organizations, such as the 
Tryon Palace Commission. He is an active board member for Preservation 
North Carolina. He is on the Edenton Institute board. He has kept an eye 
on the UNC campus by leading the Buildings and Grounds Committee. He 
has secured a complete set of 51 Louis Orr etchings of North Carolina historic 
sites for the president's home. He was instrumental in arranging for a 
significant silver collection to be given to the Executive Mansion in Raleigh. 
He has given artifacts to the National Portrait Gallery, Blair House, and the 
White House. He and Ann guided Richard Jenrette to Ayr Mount in 
Hillsborough. On one hunt for antiques, he and Ann discovered a portrait 
of President James Monroe, and it is now on loan to the U.S. State Depart- 
ment for the diplomatic reception rooms. 

John has served North Carolina well indeed. Both John and Ann 
Sanders have honored many people in many different ways. They both believe 
in giving the flowers to their friends while they can enjoy them. 


The Man to Turn To 

Henry W. Lewis 

Few would dispute the assertion that North Carolina has experienced 
a rebirth in the twentieth century. And few would deny that it has been a 
phenomenon initiated and inspirited by natives of the state. These were men 
and women who chose this state as their forum, and many of them saw 
education as the foundation on which to build; and many chose the Univer- 
sity of North Carolina as the base from which to work. Names familiar to us 
all come to mind: Edward Kidder Graham, Charles Brantley Aycock, Frank 
Porter Graham — nor do we forget the Johnston County triumvirate, Albert 
Coates, William B. Aycock, and John Lassiter Sanders. This evening I speak 
only of Sanders, but I will add that Coates picked him for the faculty of the 
Institute of Government, and Aycock named him to succeed Coates as 
director of the Institute, a formidable task. 

I do not propose to recite Sanders's resume, but it is essential to point 
out a few steps along his path. 

In 1944-1945 he began his college career at North Carolina State; the 
following year — at seventeen— he served in the United States Naval Reserve. 
Back at State in the autumn of 1947 he transferred to the University at Chapel 
Hill, where he received his A.B. degree in 1950. During the following year, 
in which he devoted himself to graduate study in American history, he served 
as president of the student body. My first encounter with the man came when 
I served as chairman of a committee named by President Gordon Gray to 
investigate allegations of hazing on this campus. John was a witness before 
that committee, and I have rarely encountered so serious a young man. 

Shortly thereafter he entered the Law School in Chapel Hill, and three 
years later (1954) he received the J.D. degree after serving as an associate editor 
of the North Carolina Law Review. In the same year he was married to Ann 
Beal, who has shared his interests and concerns through the succeeding years. 
John's academic record propelled him into a clerkship with the chief judge of 
the Fourth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, John Johnston 


Parker. While working the following year with the Raleigh firm of Manning 
and Fulton, Sanders was invited by Albert Coates to join the faculty of the 
Institute of Government. 

Let me emphasize that those who have had the experience of working 
in that essentially unique organization struggle with both the theory and the 
practice of government— its constitutional foundations and its legal and 
administrative functions. Its faculty must study hard, write simply but 
authoritatively, teach those responsible for state and local government in 
understandable ways, visit officials on their own ground, and advise them as 
they pursue their responsibilities. 

From the first, Sanders's assignments at the Institute required him to 
concentrate on state rather than local governmental matters— state organiza- 
tion, reorganization, and administration. He worked repeatedly with state 
constitutional revision— becoming the unsung draftsman of the constitution 
under which we now function. He worked with legislative and congressional 
districting and redisricting, and with the organization and administration of 
higher education, including the community college system. 

Let me pose a not altogether fanciful situation: Suppose that you have 
been appointed to some legislative committee or commission charged with 
recommending a change in constitutional policy or with revising legislative 
representation or districting. It is vital business, and you take your responsi- 
bility seriously. You need to have research and information you can rely on 
in reaching a decision and in drafting appropriate constitutional or statutory 
language to present to the General Assembly. In North Carolina, the Institute 
of Government is the place to look for that help, and John Sanders is its 
appropriate faculty man. Why? 

In the spirit and tradition of the agency with which he has long been 
affiliated, he will give your problem careful and scholarly study; he will 
marshal the facts; he will lay out the pros and cons— yet he will not tell you 
and your fellow commission members what to do. He will leave that decision 
to you, the responsible persons. Note the characteristics: scholarly knowl- 
edge, careful study, patient explanation; these describe the Institute and its 
man. But you will not be told what to do; he will not be partisan. This is 
fundamental to the reliability of the man and the usefulness of the institution 
he so long represented. Even in retirement John Sanders remains the man to 
turn to. 

From 1973 until 1979 John was away from the Institute serving as vice- 
president for planning in our newly-enlarged University. In this work, in the 
words of Governor Holshouser, "His honesty, legal acumen, and common 
sense earned respect for him and for the University." Sanders wrote the 


University's first long-range planning document, and he was tested in the 
struggle over the establishment of a school of veterinary medicine and deeply 
enmeshed in the University's efforts to comply with the federal mandate to 
eliminate racial duality in post-secondary education. 

In 1979 he returned to the Institute's directorate for another long term, 
13 years. Nor did he lack for campus assignments. Upon his retirement as 
director in 1992, a close observer, Douglass Hunt, wrote that all concerned 
with the University at Chapel Hill "are beneficiaries of your self-abnegation 
and devotion," mentioning specifically "the accommodation of University and 
community in difficult planning issues, the steady course of the University 
Press, the publications during the University Bicentennial, constructive work 
of the Faculty Buildings and Grounds Committee, the voice of reason in 
tough questions about the Faculty Council [and] the furnishing of guidance 
and technical help to student government." 

Nor have John's services gone unnoticed; he has received the Thomas 
Jefferson Award (1988), the Law School Association's Distinguished Alumnus 
Award (1991), the General Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award 
(1992), the Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award (1993), the North 
Carolina Association of Colleges and Universities' Achievement Award 
(1994), and the University Award given by the Board of Governors (1995). 
In 1996 Sanders received the North Carolina Award, the state's highest honor, 
given to recognize "notable accomplishments by North Carolina citizens in 
the fields of scholarship, research, the fine arts, and public leadership." 

Now consider an undramatic aspect of our man's careful adminis- 
trative talents. For the Institute of Government faculty to function they need 
to be able to move all over the state; cars became essential. Those acquired in 
John's first directorship had no air conditioning or radios — too expensive. 
Ben F. Loeb, Jr., has noted, "Mercifully some time during the 1960s Detroit 
quit making mid-size cars without those items, and travel was much more 
comfortable thereafter." He added, "I admire Sanders for spending as little as 
possible on transportation. He even surveyed travel expense records for any 
excesses. I remember his telling one faculty member after a lengthy trip to 
Charlotte that he did not mind faculty eating steak every night but just did 
not want them to do it on Institute money. The North Carolina taxpayers 
would have been impressed at how prudently he spent their money. ..." 

In a slightly different vein another colleague with long Institute 
experience, Warren J. Wicker, Jr., has insisted that I point out three vital 
aspects of the man honored tonight: First, he is probably less enthralled by 
the excellence of our athletic teams than almost any other University 
administrator; second, it is reliably reported that John has been known to 


have watched two non-news programs on television; and third, he does not 
suffer fools gladly, especially wise fools. 

Earlier I characterized the responsibility of succeeding Albert Coates 
as director of the Institute of Government as a "formidable task." It was 
during Sanders's initial stint in that post that I went on leave for almost two 
years as vice-president of the University in the era of "student unrest," from 
which I was happy to return. Then, when Sanders left the Institute for a 
University vice-presidency in 1973, I was assigned the "formidable task" of 
being his successor. And, finally, when I retired, lo and behold, John 
succeeded me! 

In valedictory remarks before the annual convention of the North 
Carolina League of Municipalities toward the end of October in 1978, I 
mentioned the odd game of musical chairs he and I played and risked a slightly 
frivolous comment: 

Not surprisingly this unusual pattern of succession has evoked a few 
impertinent remarks among the Institute secretaries. One was overheard 
saying to another, "Well, you know, it just makes Lewis a very thin slice 
of bologna between two thick slices of highly-enriched rye bread." 
Next day, Jack Claiborne, who was in the audience as a reporter, 
quoted my extemporaneous remarks in the Charlotte Observer as if I had been 
making a pun; he spelled the word "w-r-y." 

Muting these mildly irreverent notes, the time has come to close. My 
hope is that I have helped you understand why, in North Carolina, John 
Sanders remains "the man to turn to." 


John Sanders 's Influence on Students 

Timothy E. Newman 

It is appropriate that I speak to you about John's relationship with 
students after a meal, because food is the key to most of the relationships that 
John has fostered over the many years he has served our state. In my own 
case, our relationship started with an invitation to lunch, which I was 
forbidden to pay for, and if you put yourself in the shoes of a young student 
who likes to eat and has little money, you can easily figure out how John has 
won such loyal friends in students over the years. He still won't let me pay, 
though Karla and I have succeeded in feeding him and Ann in our home 
without gratuity! 

Gratuities are gratitude exemplified, and the reason we are all here 
tonight is to express that sentiment. We are all grateful and thankful for all 
that John Sanders has done for North Carolina and for many of us individu- 
ally during his life of service. I must say that I am particularly grateful to be 
asked to offer this discussion of John's relationship with students, and I want 
to personally thank John on behalf of all of us for allowing another in the 
series of what I call the Living Sanders Eulogies, which were not permissable 
until his retirement as director of the Institute of Government. I have been 
fortunate to attend John's receptions of the University Award, the North 
Carolina Award, and this North Caroliniana Society Award, and it is a source 
of great pleasure to me to watch Mr. Modesty squirm on these podiums, as I 
am sure it pleases many of you! 

In 1992, when John relinquished the director's chair at the Institute, 
Wayne Goodwin, Ted Teague, and Patrick Wooten compiled a book of letters 
that included many entries from those who had been students when their 
relationship with John began. Wayne and Patrick are here tonight, as are 
Keith Kapp and myself, among many others. One of the greatest testaments 
to John's influence on students is its long-term nature; while it started at 
Chapel Hill, it has gone on with us all. 

Let me share with you a few of the things that the four of us had to say 


in those letters that I think capture the essence of John's relationships with 
students. Wayne Goodwin, now State Representative Goodwin, wrote: 
"Soon like other similarly blessed young people, a host of nurturing 
began— the lunches, discussions of politics, introductions to state leaders, visits 
to your beautiful home and charming wife, and cherished gifts relative to my 
interests in the American presidency and North Carolina governance. Over 
the years, you alone fueled my quest for an understanding of the world 
around me." Understanding, certainly a Sanders mainstay. 

Patrick Wooten added, "You have taught me one thing again and 
again, someone has to do it. That simple motto sums up your devotion to seek 
the truth and always do what is right regardless of the blowing winds of 
criticism." Integrity, doing what's right, another Sanders fundamental. 

Keith Kapp, who has certainly endured many blowing winds as a 
Raleigh lawyer, captured the humorous side of John very well in saying that 
"Your intellectual pun— ish wit was beyond anything that I had run into up 
to that date, and it has been seldom rivaled since." Humor is the best 
medicine, even if it sometimes needs water after being dosed out by John. 

Finally, I stated then and reiterate now, "You have truly embodied 
love of your fellow man in both your service to North Carolina and your day 
to day conduct. John, you have loved us all, and your love bears all things, 
believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things." 

When you get to the bottom line with John, he seeks to bring out the 
best in people. Understanding, integrity, compassion, and some good, dry wit 
to keep things in perspective summarize what he is all about in my book. As 
for keeping it in perspective, I have to take a moment to do to John what he 
has done to us at inopportune times for years. Say cheese, John. {The speaker 
takes a flash photo of Sanders.] 

I must share a couple of other "only John would do thats." Most of 
you probably know of John's penchant for Gilbert and Sullivan. I remember 
the first time that I attended a performance in Durham with John, Ioianthe, 
I believe, and he had his book of text, not a leaflet, mind you, but the whole 
book, and he further had marked the exact places for applause. Only John 
would do that! 

And there were antiques shows where John would see me wishing for 
something that I could not afford at the time. At some future date one of 
those Sanders gift boxes arrived; he had slipped back and purchased the item 
without my knowing it. Only John would do that! 

Back on message now, one trait that a young student does not often 
appreciate is consistency. But like the fine port or sherry that you nip from 
time to time, John, you are a consistent source of love and inspiration to each 


of us who as students have come to know you, and we all are blessed for 
having crossed paths with you in our lives. You are tough, you are dry, and 
you are demanding, but you are all of these things in a spirit of unselfish, true 
friendship, and we are all here as true friends to toast you tonight. 

North Carolina and this world need more John Sanderses, and your 
discipleship of students for over forty years has made and continues to make 
North Carolina a better place, and I believe that your example embodies the 
North Caroliniana Society Award in the truest sense. You are most deserving 
of this award, and we are honored to be part of this evening for you, our dear 
friend and great mentor, North Carolina's invisible, yet very present hand, 
John Lassiter Sanders. Thank you very much. 


Presentation of the Award 
Willis P. Whichard 

When in 1991 the Society expressed a desire to acquire a tangible 
symbol of its annual award, it turned for guidance to— guess who?— John 
Sanders, whose interest in and knowledge of silver is well known. That 
confidence was not misplaced, for John located and the Society purchased the 
sterling two-handled cup which sits before you. It already had a distinguished 
history connecting the family of Thomas Jefferson with that of Calvin 
Coolidge. The story, too lengthy to be told here at this hour, will be found 
in the Society's annual report for 1990-1991. The trophy was appropriately 
engraved with the wording, "The North Caroliniana Society Award for 
distinguished contributions to North Carolina history and culture." Then, 
to provide for its proper exhibition in the North Carolina Collection, John 
and Ann designed and arranged for the making of a handsome mahogany 
stand, together with silver plates on which the names of recipients are 
engraved. The entire ensemble graces the North Carolina Collection Reading 
Room. Tonight, however, we are priviledged to see the cup and its upper base 
on the table in front of us. 

John and Ann also selected modest sterling tumblers, one of which is 
appropriately engraved and presented to each recipient. Given John's 
modesty, about which others have spoken, he perhaps could not have 
imagined that one evening such as this his name would be added to the 
distinguished list of recipients of the North Caroliniana Society Award. You 
would not be here if you did not agree with me that it is time for that to 

John, please step forward to receive the award. 


Acceptance of the Award 

John L. Sanders 

Members of the North Caroliniana Society and Friends of the Society: 

I thank the Board of Directors for the North Caroliniana Society 
Award for 1997. 

When in a confessional mood, I sometimes tell others that my 
advancements have been largely the result of having been, on several occasons, 
at the right place, at the right time, with plausible credentials, and above all, 
with friends in the right positions. That was never truer than in this instance. 

Special acknowledgment is due to my friends Banks Talley, Henry 
Lewis, and Tim Newman for their kind words and their even kinder 
omissions tonight. Their generosity counsels a becoming brevity on my part, 
lest I destroy whatever illusion they have created. 

I am especially pleased to have my name associated with those of the 
twenty-three men and women who have received this award over the nineteen 
years since it was established. It has been my good fortune to have known all 
twenty-three of them, and to have worked with some of them in various 
relationships, mostly University connected. My knowledge of their large 
contributions to the state makes this award all the more treasured by me. 

Forty-one years ago, I left private law practice to join the Institute of 
Government and the University of North Carolina. I have never regretted 
that action. 

For more than two centuries, North Carolina has been a good home 
to my families and to me, and I sought some way to repay the resulting 
obligation to my fellow citizens. In the service of the University, and 
particularly that of the Institute of Government, I found a way to satisfy that 
debt and at the same time to pursue my long-term interests in government and 

The opportunities that have come my way have been ampler than have 
my capacities to fulfill them. For those opportunities and their enjoyment, 
I am grateful to many people: 


fTo my wife, Ann, and our children, Tracy, Jane, and William, for 
their constant love and support; 

%To Professor Albert Coates, who invited me to join the Institute of 
Government in 1956, and to the many colleagues in the Institute whose 
companionship was for thirty-three years an inspiration; 

fTo colleagues on the General Administration staff with whom I had 
a congenial five-year association; 

^|To six chancellors of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
who entrusted me with the directorship of the Institute of Govern- 
ment—Chancellors William Aycock, Paul Sharp, Carlyle Sitterson, Ferebee 
Taylor, Christopher Fordham, and Paul Hardin; 

fTo President William Friday, a friend of nearly half a century, and 
President C. D. Spangler, Jr., whom I welcomed to this campus as a freshman 
forty-seven years ago, with both of whom I have joined in many rewarding 
endeavors for the University and the state; 

%Yo a host of friends, most of whom I met as students at Chapel Hill 
over the last six decades, from the nineteen-forties to the nineteen-nineties, an 
exemplary group of whom are here tonight, and whose friendship means 
more to me than words can express. 

And, finally, I am the University's debtor. Here I have found endless 
work to do that was always useful and often interesting, following pathways 
established by notable servants of the University over two centuries, and 
doing so in the company of an ever-changing and ever-challenging group of 
men and women who shared with me a profound love for and commitment 
to this institution and this state. 

What more could I have asked for in a life's work? 

I thank you all. 



IN 1991, when John and Ann Sanders located and arranged for the Society's purchase of a historic 
silver cup to symbolize the North Caroliniana Society A ward, they posed with the cup and its base, 
which they designed for display in the North Carolina Collection. In the lower photo, they are 
shown on 30 May 1997 when John became recipient of this year's award. 



THE AWARD: Left to right from top—fobn Sanders listens as H. G. Jones, Banks C. Talley, Jr., 
Henry W. Lewis and Timothy E. Newman deliver tributes; accepts the North Caroliniana Society 
Award from President Willis P. Whichard; receives congratulations from Jonathan Howes and 
Gladys Coates; poses with friends William Geer, George Esser, and Mohan Nathan; and reminisces 
with Patrick Wooten, Timothy Newman, and Ann Sanders. 



FAMILY AND FRIENDS: Son William Sanders with Bill Geer; daughter Jane Sanders with Bill 
Geer; son-in-law Tom Justus (right) with John Humher; Jane's friend Howard Goldstein of New 
York; and, at bottom, daughter Tracy Sanders Justus with Kay Spivey, John 's longtime secretary 
in the Institute of Government. 



MORE FRIENDS: John Sanders with Stephen Dennis; Sanders with Tim Newman; Bill and 
Gloria Blytbe with Ed Yoder; Blossom and George Tindall with Gary Freeze; Bill Geer, Ruth 
Manire, and Kate Torrey; Carlton Harrell and Betty Hodges; H. G. Jones with Bill and Ida Friday; 
and Anna Hayes, John Bishir, and Willis Whichard. 



AND MORE: Ann Sanders with Chris Fordham; Ann Sanders with Henry and Sory Bowers; 
Elizabeth Matheson, Stephen Dennis, and Catherine and John Bishir; Bill Price, Jeff Crow, and 
Keats Sparrow; Bill Little, Bill Cochrane, and Douglass Hunt; Dewey, Lawrence, Sr., and 
Lawrence London, Jr., with Snow and Ben Roberts; Kevin Cherry with Rita and Jerry Cashion; 
and Layne Baker and Mary Arthur Stoudemire. (All photos by Jerry W. Cotten, North 
Carolina Collection.) 


Some Facts About John Lassiter Sanders 

Personal Data 

Born: Four Oaks, North Carolina, 30 June 1927. 

Parents: David Hardy and Louie Jane (Lassiter) Sanders. 

Married: Ann Beal, 14 August 1954 

Children: Tracy Elizabeth Sanders Justus, born 1958; 

Jane Nesbit Sanders, born 1965; 

William Hardy Sanders, born 1968. 


Graduated from Four Oaks High School, 1944. 
Attended North Carolina State University, 1944-45; 1947. 
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1947-54): 

A.B., 1950 (major: history; minor: political science); 

Graduate study in American history, 1950-51; 

J.D., 1954. 

Military Experience 

Active duty, United States Naval Reserve, 1945-46. 

Work Experience 

High school: Part-time and summer work in family retail hardware business. 

Law school: Residence hall adviser; reader to blind student; research assistant in Institute of Govern- 
ment (full-time, summers of 1951 and 1953; part-time, 1953-54). 

1954-55— Law clerk to Chief Judge John J. Parker, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, Charlotte. 

1955-56— Associate in law firm of Manning & Fulton, Raleigh. 

1956-73 and 1979-95— Institute of Government: 

1956-57, Instructor and Assistant Director; 

1957-60, Assistant Professor Public Law and Government; 

1960-65, Associate Professor; 

1965-94, Professor; 

1962-73 and 1979-92, Director. 

1973-78 — Vice-President for Planning, The University of North Carolina [System] 

Assignments in Institute of Government 

Principal fields of interest: State government organization, reorganization, and administration; state 
constitutional revision; legislative representation; higher education organization and 

Principal clients: Commissions on Reorganization of State Government, 1956-61; Governor's Commis- 
sion on Education Beyond the High School, 1961-62 (on leave from Institute); North Carolina 
Constitutional Commission, 1958-59; North Carolina State Constitution Study Commission, 
1968-69; Governor's office; various legislative and executive interim study commissions; and 
numerous regular legislative committees. 

Administrative duties: Director, Institute of Government, 1962-73 and 1979-92. 

Membership on Boards, Commissions, Committees, etc. 
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 


Faculty Council, 1963-64, 1966-69. 

Chancellor's Faculty Advisory Committee, 1970-73; Chairman, 1972-73. 

Committee on University Priorities, 1971-73. 

Committee on University Government, 1972-73. 

Affirmative Action Program Committee, Chairman, 1973. 

Buildings and Grounds Committee, 1982-94; Chair, 1984-94. 

Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards, 1984-87; Chair, 1994. 

Joint University-Town Committee, Co-chairman, 1987. 

Coordination and Consultation Committee, 1989-94. 

Facilities Planning Committee, 1990-94. 

Bicentennial Planning Committee, ca. 1985-86. 

Bicentennial Policy Committee, 1987-94. 

Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Naming University Facilities and Activities, 1992- . 

Advisory Committee on Historic Properties, ca. 1985-94. 

Administrative Board, School of Social Work, 1992-94. 

Administrative Board, School of Education, 1992-94. 

Advisory Board, North Carolina Educational Policy Research Center, 1993-94. 

Committee to Study the Scheduling and Assignment of Classroom Space, Chair, 1993. 

Classroom Advisory Committee, Chair, 1994. 

Advisory Board, Ackland Art Museum, 1990-93. 

Visiting Committee, Ackland Art Museum, 1995- . 

The University of North Carolina [System] 

Board of Governors, The University of North Carolina Press, 1982- . 

University Advisory Council, 1971-72; Chairman, 1972. 

Faculty Assembly, The University of North Carolina, Interim Chairman, 1972-73. 

State Organizations 

North Carolina Community College and Technical Institute Planning Commission, 1979-80. 

Commission on the Future of North Carolina, 1981-82. 

Tryon Palace Commission, 1993- ; Secretary, 1994- . 

Capitol Preservation Commission, Chair, 1994-95. 

State Capitol Advisory Committee, Chair, 1995- . 

Other Organizations 

Board of Directors, Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies Foundation, Inc., 1974- . 

Board of Directors, Golden Fleece Foundation, 1983- ; President, 1994- . 

Board of Directors, State Capitol Foundation, 1976-91, 1995- ; President, 1976-91. 

Board of Directors, North Caroliniana Society, 1990- . 

Board of Directors, Research Triangle Foundation, 1984- ; Executive Committee, 1985- . 

Board of Directors, The Chapel Hill Residential Retirement Center, Inc. (Carol Woods), 1993- . 

Board of Directors, Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina, 1992- . 

Board of Directors, Edenton Institute, 1997- . 

Board of Directors, May Gordon Kellenberger Historical Foundation, 1996- . 


University Baptist Church, Chapel Hill. 

Democratic Party. 

North Carolina State Bar. 

North Carolina Bar Association. 

Numerous historical preservation and related associations, state and local. 

Honors and Recognitions 


Order of the Grail, UNC-CH. 

Order of the Golden Fleece, UNC-CH. 

President of the Student Body, UNC-CH, 1950-51. 


Law School 

Associate Editor, North Carolina Law Review, 1953-54. 

Order of the Coif, 1954. 


Who 5 Who in America, 40th and later editions. 

"Tar Heel of the Week," The News and Observer, 1966. 

Hardee-Rives Cup, Victorian Society in America, N. C. Chapter, 1981, for historic preservation. 

Ruth Coltrane Cannon Award, North Carolina Preservation Society, 1982, for historic preservation. 

Award of Merit, American Association for State and Local History, 1987, for historic preservation. 

Thomas Jefferson Award, UNC-CH, 1988, for exemplifying the ideals and objectives of Thomas 

Jefferson through personal influence and through performance of duty in teaching, writing, 

and scholarship. 
Distinguished Alumnus Award, UNC-CH Law School Alumni Association, 1991, for service to the 

University and the profession. 
Distinguished Service Medal, UNC-CH General Alumni Association, 1992, for service to the 

University and the State. 
C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award, UNC-CH, 1993, for service to the University. 
Achievement Award, North Carolina Association of Colleges and Universities, 1994, for service to 

higher education. 
University Award, UNC Board of Governors, 1995, for service to the University. 
North Carolina Award, State of North Carolina, 1996, for public service. 
North Caroliniana Society Award, 1997, for contributions to the history and culture of the state. 

Selected Bibliography [Unless indicated, all published by the Institute of Government] 
Subject: Higher Education 

A Review of Procedures for Obtaining Capital Improvements at the University of North Carolina. 1960. 

47 pp. 
Editor, North Carolina Constitutional and Statutory Provisions with Respect to Higher Education. 

Raleigh: Governor's Commission on Education Beyond the High School, 1961. 74 pp. 
The Legal Development of the University of North Carolina. 1965. 15 pp. 
Veterinary Medical Education for North Carolina. UNC-CH, 1974. 23 pp. 

Veterinary Medical Education for North Carolina. Supplementary Report. UNC-CH, 1978. 22 pp. 
"The University and Purposeful Growth," Carolina Alumni Review, Winter 1993: 117-29. 
"The Institute of Government in The University of North Carolina," Popular Government 59 (Fall 

1993): 12-19. 
"The University of North Carolina: The Legislative Evolution of Public Higher Education," Popular 

Government 59 (Fall 1993): 20-29. 
Subject: Legislative Representation 
Data on North Carolina Congressional Districts, State Senatorial Districts, and Apportionment of the 

State House of Representatives. 1961. vp. 
Maps of North Carolina Congressional Districts, 1789-1960, and of the State Senatorial Districts and 

Apportionment of State Representatives, 1776-1960. 1961. 58 pp. 
Editor, Materials on Congressional Districts in North Carolina. 1st ed., 1965; 2nd ed., 1967. 55 pp. 
Editor, Materials on Representation in the General Assembly of North Carolina. 1965. 40 pp. 
Memorandum Concerning Fractional Voting and Weighted Voting in the General Assembly of North 

Carolina. 1965. 22 pp. 
"Representation in Congress and the General Assembly," Popular Government 27 (February 1961): 

"Legislative Representation [in North Carolina]: 1961," Popular Government 28 (November 1961): 

1-3, 14; (December 1961): 7-14; (March-April 1962): 1-4. 
"Equal Representation and the Board of County Commissioners," Popular Government 31 (April 

1965): 1-5. 
"Legislative Representation in North Carolina: A Chapter Ends," Popular Government 32 (February 

1966): 1-7, 33; (March 1966): 4-13, 24-25. 


Subject: State Constitution 

A Report on the Convention of the People of North Carolina, 1776-1958. 1958. 41 pp. 

The Proposed Constitution of North Carolina: An Analysis. 1959. 44 pp. [Entire issue of Popular 

Government 25 (February 1959).] 
Constitutional Revision and Court Reform: A Legislative History, 1959. 1959. 39 pp. 
Editor, Constitution of North Carolina: A Literal Print of the Text of the Constitution as It Read on 

January 1, 1969. 1969. 91pp. 
Editor, Constitution of North Carolina, 1971. 1970. 150 pp. 
Amendments to the Constitution of North Carolina, 1776-1970. 1970. 27 pp. 
Amendments to the Constitution of North Carolina, 1776-1974. 1975. 32 pp. 
Amendments to the Constitution of North Carolina, 1776-1976. 1977. 34 pp. 
"North Carolina," in Richard H. Leach, editor, Compacts of Antiquity: State Constitutions. Atlanta: 

Southern Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation, [1969]. Pp. 143-171. 
"State Constitutional Revision, North Carolina, 1968-69," Popular Government 36 (September 1969): 

"A Brief History of the Constitution of North Carolina," in John L. Cheney, editor, North Carolina 

Government, 1585-1974. A Narrative and Statistical History. Raleigh: Department of the 

Secretary of State, 1981. Pp. 795-807. 
Subject: State Government 

Preliminary Report on the Office of the Governor of North Carolina. 1954. 88 pp. 
Report on the Office of the Governor of North Carolina. 1954. 187 pp. 
Housing State Government: A Review, 1792-1957. 1958. 37 pp. 
Succession to Office in North Carolina State Government. 1958. 26 pp. 
North Carolina State Government: Selection of Officers. 1960. 264 pp. 
Editor, The North Carolina Executive Budget Act Topically Arranged. 1st ed., 1962, 62 p.; 2nd ed., 

1965, 68 pp.; 3rd ed., 1970, 68 pp.; 4th ed., 1972, 39 pp.; 7th ed., 1982, 69 pp.; 8th ed., 1985, 

88 pp.; 9th ed., 1991,88 pp. 
Selection of North Carolina State Governmental Officials. 1964. 289 pp. 
Report to the Legislative Research Commission on Selected Factors Affecting Legislative Service in North 

Carolina. 1966. 53 pp. 
[See Popular Government, 1957 and after for articles on this topic] 
"Constitutional Law— Freedom of Speech— Motion Pictures," North Carolina Law Review 31 (1952): 

Editor, "The Journal of Ruffin Wirt Tomlinson," North Carolina Historical Review 30 (January 1953): 

86-114; (April 1953): 233-260. 
"This Political Temple, The Capitol of North Carolina," Popular Government 43 (September 1985): 

"The North Carolina State Capitol of 1840," The Magazine Antiques 78 (September 1985): 474-484. 
"Ayr Mount on the Eno River near Hillsborough, North Carolina," The Magazine Antiques 135 (May 

1989): 1190-1201. 

The North Carolmiana Society, Inc. 

North Carolina Collection 
Wilson Library, UNC Campus Box 3930 
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514-8890 

Chartered on 1 1 September 1975 as a private nonprofit corporation under provisions of Chapter 55A 
of the General Statutes of North Carolina, the North Caroliniana Society is dedicated to the promotion of 
increased knowledge and appreciation of North Carolina's heritage. This it accomplishes in a variety of ways: 
encouragement of scholarly research and writing in and teaching of state and local history; publication of 
documentary materials, including the numbered, limited-edition North Caroliniana Society Imprints and North 
Caroliniana Society Keepsakes; sponsorship of professional and lay conferences, seminars, lectures, and 
exhibitions; commemoration of historic events, including sponsorship of markers and plaques; and, especially, 
through assistance to the North Carolina Collection and North Carolina Collection Gallery of the University 
of North Carolina Library and other cultural organizations with kindred objectives. 

Incorporated by H. G. Jones, William S. Powell, and Louis M. Connor, Jr., who soon were joined 
by a distingushed group of North Carolinians, the Society was limited to one hundred members for the first 
decade. It elects from time to time additional individuals meeting its strict criterion of "adjudged performance" 
in service to their state's culture — i.e., those who have demonstrated a continuing interest in and support of the 
historical, literary, and cultural heritage of North Carolina. The Society, a tax-exempt organization under 
provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, expects service ratherthan dues. For its programs, 
it depends upon the contributions, bequests, and devises of its members and friends. Its IRS number is 56- 
1119848. Upon request, contributions to the Society may be counted toward Chancellor's Club membership. 
The Society administers the Archie K. Davis Fund, given in 1987 by the Research Triangle Foundation in honor 
of its retiring board chairman and the Society's longtime president. 

A highlight of the Society's year is the presentation of the North Caroliniana Society Award to an 
individual or organization for long and distinguished service in the encouragement, production, enhancement, 
promotion, and preservation of North Caroliniana. Starting with Paul Green, the Society has recognized Tar 
Heels such as Albert Coates, Sam J. Ervin, Jr., Sam Ragan, Gertrude S. Carraway, John Fries Blair, William and 
Ida Friday, William S. Powell, Mary and James Semans, David Stick, William M. Cochrane, Emma Neal 
Morrison, Burke Davis, Lawrence F. London, Frank H. Kenan, Charles Kuralt, Archie K. Davis, H. G. Jones, 
J. Carlyle Sitterson, Leroy T. Walker, Hugh M. Morton, John L. Sanders, and the North Carolina Collection 
(on its sesquicentennial). 

The Society has its headquarters in the North Carolina Collection, the "Conscience of North 
Carolina," which seeks to preserve for present and future generations all that has been or is published by North 
Carolinians regardless of subject or language and about North Carolina and North Carolinians regardless of 
author or source. In this mission the Collection's clientele is broader than the University community; indeed, 
it is the entire citizenry of North Carolina as well as those outside the state whose research extends to North 
Carolina or North Carolinians. Members of the North Caroliniana Society share a very special relationship to 
this unique Collection that traces its beginnings back to 1844 and stands unchallenged as the largest and most 
comprehensive repository in America of published materials relating to a single state. The North Carolina 
Collection Gallery, opened in 1988, adds exhibition and interpretive dimensions to the Collection's traditional 
services. These combined resources fulfill the vision of President David L. Swain (1801-1868), who founded the 
Collection; Librarian Louis Round Wilson (1876-1979), who nurtured it; and Philanthropist John Sprunt Hill 
(1869-1961), who generously endowed it. All North Carolinians are enriched by this precious legacy. A leaflet 
on the Collection is available without charge. 


Willis P. Whichard, President 

Archie K. Davis and William C. Friday, Presidents Emeriti 

William S. Powell, Vice-President 

H. G. Jones, Secretary-Treasurer 

H. David Bruton, William McWhorter Cochrane, Betty A. Hodges, Dana Borden Lacy, 

Henry W. Lewis, Nancy Cobb Lilly, W. Trent Ragland, Jr., John L. Sanders, and William D. Snider 

H. G. Jones, General Editor 

[continued from inside front cover] 

No. 15. A Half Century in Coastal History (1987) 
by David Stick 

No. 16. Thomas Wolfe at Eighty-seven (1988) 
edited by H. G. Jones 

No. 17. A Third of a Century in Senate Cloakrooms (1988) 
by William McWhorter Cochrane 

No. 18. The Emma Neal Morrison I Know (1989) 
by Ida Howell Friday 

No. 19. Thomas Wolfe's Composition Books (1990) 
edited by Alice R. Cotten 

No. 20. My Father, Burke Davis (1990) 
by Angela Davis-Gardner 

No. 21. A Half Century with Rare Books (1991) 
by Lawrence F. London 

No. 22. Frank H. Kenan: An Appreciation (1992) 
edited by Archie K. Davis 

No. 23. Growing Up in North Carolina, by Charles Kuralt, and 
The Uncommon Laureate, by Wallace H. Kuralt, Jr. (1993) 

No. 24. Chancellors Extraordinary: J. Carlyle Sitterson and LeRoy T Walker (1995) 
by William C. Friday and Willis P. Whichard 

No. 25. Historical Consciousness in the Early Republic (1995) 
edited by H. G. Jones 

No. 26. Sixty Years with a Camera (1996) 
by Hugh M. Morton 

No. 27. William Gaston as a Public Man (1997) 
by John L. Sanders 

•"-,. Hx 

J/i'/ <>v Ait'n 

■ ■■ ■ - ■ - 







. ' , :•■:.■' '■'■■